How available were guns during WW2?

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by BritStudent, Oct 7, 2010.

  1. BritStudent

    BritStudent

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    I was just wondering, during WW2, how available were new-manufacture guns? Did all the factories producing commercial firearms get turned over to 100% military production or did they still make some for the civil market?

    Were military weapons like Garands, 1911s, M1 Carbines (or even NFA items) etc available? Were they very rare or easy enough to find?
     
  2. StarShip2100

    StarShip2100 Futurist

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    most to the services is my guess. Depends on whose side. In the battle fields, probably abundant and laying around everwhere.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2010

  3. Chad Landry

    Chad Landry Cajunator® CLM

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    Auto manufacturers weren't selling cars to the general public, so I think it's a fair guess that most all production went to the war effort.

    In fact, I saw an old ad the other day for Marlin rifles that said, "Don't worry, we'll have some new Marlins for you when the war is over".
     
  4. underbelly

    underbelly Millennium Member

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    Good question. With tractor companies, typewriter companies and sewing machine companies contracted to make weapons, I would imagine sporting arms companies would have been too busy as well to supply the civilian market.
     
  5. Marine8541

    Marine8541 iseedeadpeople

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    Almost every book I've read on reloading says the practice started in WWII because of shortages.
     
  6. Homechicken

    Homechicken

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    At the time I'm pretty sure the 1911 was still patent protected and only Colt could manufacture for sale to the public. Of course at the "request" of the gov't they did license others to make them for the war effort. The service rilfes were not available to the public. The Garand was developed for the military in the mid 1930's and the M1 Carbine was developed in the late 30's I believe. They were the newest front line weapons, so none had found their way to the public. Most all non-military firearm production ceased in order for the manufacturers to contribute to the war effort.
     
  7. Carolina Drifter

    Carolina Drifter CLM

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    Must have been pretty plentiful.

    Yamamoto: "You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass".
     
  8. BOGE

    BOGE Millennium Member

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    A granted patent has a nominal life of 20 years from the time of filing. In other words there was not protecion at this time. 1911 + 20 = 1931.

    Almost all civilian gun production was converted into wartime production. Any guns sold by the large manufacturers between 1942 & 1946 were basically left over pre-war production.
     
  9. ron59

    ron59 Bustin Caps

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    LOTS of families already owned guns, at least in non-suburban areas... hunting was a much bigger part of life then than now.

    So those folks had guns at least. But buying guns at a store? That might not have been too possible during the war because of all the shortages.
     
  10. shotgunred

    shotgunred local trouble maker

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    Everything was rationed during WWII.
     
  11. PBCounty

    PBCounty

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    I've read a number of times that even tires were very difficult to find. I would expect that firearm sales were mostly in the used market and ammo was a lot less available.
     
  12. Powermwt

    Powermwt Millennium Member

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    US arms Manufacturers during WWII.
    Most of this was taken from Wikipedia.
    M1911
    During the war, about 1.9 million units were procured by the U.S. Government for all forces, production being undertaken by several manufacturers, including Remington Rand (900,000 produced), Colt (400,000), Ithaca Gun Company (400,000), Union Switch & Signal (50,000), and Singer (500). So many were produced that after 1945 the government did not order any new pistols, and simply used existing parts inventories to "arsenal refinish" guns when necessary.

    S&W M1917
    The military service of the M1917 did not end with the First World War. In the mid-1930s, Brazil ordered many thousands of M1917s for their military. Now out of service, surplus examples can be identified by the large Brazilian crest stamped on their sideplates. They are sometimes referred to as the M1937 or the Brazilian-contract M1917.

    M1 carbine
    • Inland Division, General Motors (production: 2,632,097), sole producer of the M1A1 Carbine. Receiver marked "INLAND DIV."
    • Winchester Repeating Arms (production: 828,059) Receiver marked "WINCHESTER"[35]
    • Irwin-Pedersen (operated by Saginaw Steering Gear and production included with Saginaw total)
    • Saginaw Steering Gear Division General Motors (production: 517,213 ) Receivers marked "SAGINAW S.G." (370,490) and "IRWIN-PEDERSEN" (146,723 )
    • Underwood Elliot Fisher (production: 545,616) Receiver marked "UNDERWOOD"
    • National Postal Meter (production: 413,017) Receiver marked "NATIONAL POSTAL METER"
    • Quality Hardware Manufacturing Corp. (production: 359,666) Receiver marked "QUALITY H.M.C."
    • International Business Machines (production: 346,500) Receiver marked "I.B.M. CORP."
    • Standard Products (production: 247,100) Receiver marked "STD. PRO."
    • Rock-Ola Manufacturing Corporation (production: 228,500) Receiver Marked "ROCK-OLA" [36]
    • Commercial Controls Corporation (production: 239) Receiver marked "COMMERCIAL CONTROLS"

    M1 Garand
    By September 1939, Springfield Armory had reached an output of 100 per day.
    Winchester was awarded an "educational" production contract for 65,000 rifles,[6] with deliveries beginning in 1943.

    M1903 Springfield
    World War II saw new production of the Springfield at private manufacturers Remington Arms and Smith-Corona Typewriter.

    Model 1912
    More than 80,000 Winchester Model 12 shotguns were purchased during World War II by the United States Marine Corps, Army Air Forces, and Navy, mostly for use in the Pacific theater. Riot gun versions of the Model 12, lacking the heat shield and bayonet, were purchased by the Army for use in defending bases and in protecting Air Forces aircraft against saboteurs when parked. The Navy similarly purchased and used the riot gun version for protecting Navy ships and personnel while in foreign ports. The Marine Corps used the trench gun version of the Model 12 to great success in taking Japanese-occupied islands in the Pacific. The primary difference in Model 12 shotguns between the World War II trench gun version versus the World War I trench gun version was that the original design, containing six rows of holes in the perforated heat shield, was reduced to only four rows during 1942.

    M1918 BAR
    Between 1918–1919, 102,125 BARs had been manufactured jointly by Colt (16,000 weapons), Winchester (47,123) and Marlin-Rockwell (39,002 units). It doesn’t say who made WWII production?

    Marlin made machine guns and looking at the available histories of most of the other firearms companies... most of them made something for the war effort.

    I have seen Willys-Overland WWII contracts and they did not just make jeeps and trailers. The made machine gun parts, shells up to 155mm, primers and fuses.

    Almost everything was rationed.

    Here is just a sample.
    http://www.ameshistoricalsociety.org/exhibits/events/rationing.htm

    I forgot to add... on October 28, 1942, a Nationwide War Speed Limit of 35 mph came into affect in an attempt to conserve gasoline and save on tires.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2010
  13. RedTop

    RedTop

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    As others have posted, I don't think much of anything was available.

    About a year ago I found a copy of a letter that my Great Grandfather wrote to my Grandfather in 1942...

    My Great Grandfather owned a hardware store in the Florida Panhandle at the time and was understandably having a hard time acquiring both guns and ammo for resale. My grandfather was in flight school somewhere in Texas at the time.



    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2010
  14. Reissman

    Reissman Millennium Member

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    That is so cool.
     
  15. RonS

    RonS Millennium Member

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    Hard to come by; I remember stories about kids being given two or three rounds of .22 ammo and being expected to bring back the same number of rabbits.
     
  16. PBCounty

    PBCounty

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    +1 to that.
     
  17. GammaDriver

    GammaDriver

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    Agreed - thanks for posting that letter.

    No, I don't believe weapons were sold to the public once the supplying really got going.

    I have, though, seen one interesting item on a farm I worked at - a very rare 1942 farm tractor. I guess the OP, and others, may need to come to terms with why things like this, or weapons, would be rare to find manufactured and distributed in the US, but on the other hand it's obvious why a farm tractor was important to the overall war effort.

    The owner collected tractors (very, very large ones, and not-so-large ones), but this one was trucked in special... kinda like at jay Leno's garage when a vehicle is delivered from someone's barn.
     
  18. cphilip

    cphilip

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    I know my father used to tell me the story of when he was a boy he ran a paper route and trapped and sold Muskrat skins just to buy a box of shells each hunting season. And he often only took two or three shell with him to hunt expecting to bring that many Rabbits or Ducks home with him for the table because a box of shell had to last him all season. If he was lucky enough he would be given a box or make enough for a second but rarely more. Almost all the few guns they had were hand me downs.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2010
  19. marv

    marv Millennium Member

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    NO ammo was available. Whatever was on store shelves and in distributor inventory on Dec. 7, 1941 had to last until some time in 1945 or 1946. I couldn't even get BB's for my Red Ryder. Dad owned a rural garage/gas station. Tires and batteries were nearly non-existent. A customer could only buy gas for the amount indicated on his ration stamp. The delivery driver totaled the gallons on Dad's stamps and that is how much he pumped into the storage tank. But.......we survived.
     
  20. american lockpicker

    american lockpicker License to Il

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    While gun ownership was wide spread I don't think many people bought guns like most of us on the forum do(as a hobby).